Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 14

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet

There is no question that from a purely mechanical and practical standpoint, mushroom picking can make mushroom photography a technically much easier process. However, in addition to physically disturbing the delicate natural features of the mushroom's natural micro-environment, and risking inflicting physical damage upon the mushroom itself, mushroom picking disrupts the scene's natural composition. Most frequently, the natural elements present in the surroundings of a mushroom are what draw me to that particular mushroom in the first place for mushroom art prints. It may be because the natural light conditions are highlighting the mushroom. A ray of sunlight may be filtered and cut by surrounding trees to spotlight a lone mushroom, for example. A mushroom troop may be back-lit against the sky. These moments are often fleeting, and often come when the sun is low on the horizon and moving quickly to dusk. 

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 05

Many things which some might view as hassles are in fact what make the process of stalking mushrooms for fungi watercolor art appealing, while other difficulties and technical problems are and always will be just simple drudgery and trouble. There is a certain practical challenge involved in squirming into a moldy patch of forest debris while chasing the perfect angle on a little mycena, but being up close in the natural environment of that mushroom is its own reward too. While that may be true, as soon as it comes time to change a camera lens, the drudgery and trouble appears in force. When you are out hunting

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 09

While not the case for mushroom art prints, for the purpose of mushroom identification and mycology studies, it is perfectly acceptable and in many circumstances absolutely essential to pick the mushroom. If the mushroom is growing so that the gills are not visible, or if one needs to take a spore print, or if one needs to examine the base of the mushroom stem to determine if it is tapered or bulbous, one often can't do any of that satisfactorily without picking the mushroom. For a mushroom photograph to adequately present a subject for safe mushroom identification (which you certainly want if you are out mushroom picking), it should show clearly every feature of the mushroom. …

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 13

Sometimes it is best to use the scene's natural light, although this kind of low light photography (particularly under a dense forest canopy) can be difficult. Sometimes it is beneficial to augment natural lighting conditions with a remote flash or a macro flash to complement (or even overcome) the natural lighting and make the perfect art print. Whatever the technical details of lighting to get the pictues of mushrooms, the original natural scene composition which drew me at first glance is virtually always the scene which I will try to capture in the mushroom photographs destined to become

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 06

Why is it that taking pictures of mushrooms presents a special challenge for someone wanting to make mushroom watercolor giclee art from these images? Well, it is a mix of technical, personal, and practical reasons. Many of these challenges are unique to fungi art photography (although one might imagine many are also shared by the mold photographer...). Happily, the end goal of creating the final piece of fungi art makes it all worthwhile, and luckily some "special challenges" are in fact part of the fun! 

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 10

Especially for the wild mushroom fine art giclee prints taken of fungi living on the forest floor such as that of the great California coastal redwood forests. The mushroom photographs taken there almost always show aspects of the life cycle of the redwood forest as well as their own. In those pictures there seems to always creep in some of the characteristic organic litter of the redwood forest or the mushrooms themselves in the pictures are growing from a log or fallen redwood branch. …

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 15

If you chose to do so, you certainly could set out to make a fungi art gallery out of the actual fungus mycelia which produce the mushroom fruit bodies, but then you would miss out on all the great mushrooms the mycelia produce. Taking pictures to create that kind of a fungi gallery would be more like taking pictures to create a rose gallery of rose stems, roots, and petals, instead of a gallery of rose blossoms. …

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 11

The forest provides absolutely everything required by the fungi mycelium. The decaying organic debris of the forest gives the mycelium all the nutrients it will need throughout its life. The organic litter gives it the nourishment it needs to fruit and to yield the beautiful mushrooms you see in the mushroom giclee prints like The Sage and in the

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 08

A mushroom picture really only reveals a little bit about the life of the fungus mycelium which produces the mushroom fruit body you see in the picture. A snapshot of the life of the fungus is really a good term. Because the mushroom itself is merely the fruiting body of the mycelium, taking a mushroom picture shows a snapshot in time - of the time when the mycelium is fruiting, which may sometimes be very brief in a given season. …

Mushroom Art for Sale by Artist C Ribet 17

The mycelium which is fruiting and producing the mushrooms at the time of a mushroom picture may be anything from a relatively new fungus growth to a much older, established fungus. A well established fungus mycelium may stretch over great areas underground or throughout the mass of a rotting stump or log. It is particularly dramatic to imagine the hidden mycelium of a fungus in a huge redwood stump or log where one sees them within the vestiges of the old growth redwood forests and within the remains of the forests left after decades of ruthless logging. …

© C Ribet 2013